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Recon: Auburn

SEC week is here! We tried to get some back and forth, a Q&A, something, anything, going with the Auburn basketball community. It failed horribly. Apparently there is some sort of gotdang foosball match this week and Aubie fans don’t care about basketball right now. Which is fine, I have no clue what I would do if someone contacted me to discuss a Dayton football game. I’d probably tell them the Dayton football program keeps Hanes sweatpants in business and just leave it at that. I don’t blame you, Auburn hoops fans.

Regardless, the Tigers will be in the Gem City and the tipoff will commence. Even if no one in Auburn knows it.

There was plenty to be excited about on The Plains as the basketball Tigers began their 2017-18 campaign. All five starters back, Bruce Pearl was making strides on the recruiting trail and it seemed like an NCAA tournament appearance was imminent. Then in late September the goddamn FBI came knocking. Assistant coach Chuck Person was arrested on six felony counts after allegedly accepting kickbacks for steering basketball players to financial managers. Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, key members of the Tiger squad, were shut down as a result of the FBI investigation. The duo is suspended “indefinitely,” which of course means they likely won’t see the court this season. Trouble seems to follow Bruce Pearl around, it’s odd. What an unlucky fellow.

The Tigers are currently 4-1, winners over Indiana State and Dayton vexer, Hofstra. The Tigers have size and athleticism, one of the reasons they are racking up over six blocks per game. Say what you want about Auburn, they know how to score the ball. Pearl’s club is averaging 93.4 points per game (coming off an 119 point effort against Winthrop last Friday), shooting an impressive 51% from the floor, 38% from the three-point line. The problem for Auburn remains on the defensive side of the ball, where they are allowing 78 points a contest. Dayton has struggled to score in transition so far this season, Auburn will certainly present the Flyers with ample opportunities to do so. UD has to take advantage of them.

Bryce Brown (18.8 ppg/88% ft) is coming off a solid sophomore season, but not even the most ardent Tiger basketball fan (there’s gotta be one) could have seen Brown’s early-season performance coming. Brown gets up most of his shots from deep where he’s shooting 37% on the season. Mustapha Heron 16.4 ppg/5.2 rpg) was a five-star recruit that lived up to expectations last season and has picked up where he left off. Heron dropped 31 on Winthrop and will be the most talented player on the floor Wednesday night. Point-guard Jared Harper (10.6 ppg/5.2 apg) is a lil’ guy but he has THE CHEST. Pearl asked Harper to be more of a distributor in the offseason and Harper said yeah, ok, whatever.

DeSean Murray (12.2 ppg/8.8 rpg) is a thick wing that crashes the boards like a bandicoot(?) Murray is 6’3″/225, I’d pay money to see him and Trey Landers fight behind a laundromat. 6’8″ junior Horace Spencer (3.0 ppg/5.8 rpg) rounds out the Auburn starting lineup, Spencer is a banger in every sense of the world.

The Tiger bench is led by Anfernee McLemore and Chuma Okeke. McLemore (9.2 ppg/4.4 rpg) gives Pearl another big body to bang down low and rebound. Okeke (8.8 ppg/5.2 rpg) is a four-star recruit, a 6’8″ forward that brings an extremely versatile skillset to the table.Malik Dunbar (6.6 ppg/52% fg) and Davion Mitchell (6.2 ppg/85% ft) are two more guys Pearl will drag off the bench, no way you read this far.

  • Not to harp on Bruce Pearl’s truth-stretching proclivities, but the lies he told the NCAA during their investigation of his Tennessee program are legendary. The fact that he told the NCAA that the house in a picture of his famous barbeque wasn’t actually his house is downright Clintonian. Lying about easily verifiable facts is a clear sign of pathological behavior. It would be no different than lying about your name or your blood type. I love Bruce Pearl because he is an unashamed scumbag, which kind of makes him respectable.
  • Newly indicted Auburn assistant Chuck Person did not get his degree from Auburn University. He actually got his “degree” from something called The United States Sports Academy. Here is how the Academy describes itself:

    Based in Daphne, the United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, regionally accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.

I was on the USSA website for about a half-hour and could not figure out exactly what they do and how any of it is accredited. American higher education is amazing.

I don’t like the looks of this one, folks.This is going to be a high-scoring affair, clearly, and I don’t think Dayton will be able to get enough easy buckets to win this one. Outside of DURRELL and Cunningham, the Flyers don’t have enough reliable and consistent scorers to outpace Auburn. DURRELL will be one to watch, as he will more than likely get plenty of open looks and maybe a few buckets in transition. Regardless, the Tigers win this one, 88-79. Flyers drop to 3-3 and head to lovely Starkvegas this weekend.

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